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Hunting Unicorns

3.35 of 5 stars 3.35  ·  rating details  ·  708 ratings  ·  115 reviews
Hunting Unicorns is a stylish, screamingly funny, razor-sharp look at the British aristocracy in decline, from Bella Pollen.

Adrift in a rapidly changing world, the Bevans cling to tradition while wrestling with taxes, tree blight, and the need to keep the family skeleton firmly in the cupboard.

The Earl and Countess of Bevan--charming, mad, and emotionally abbreviated. Dani...more
ebook, 368 pages
Published January 28th 2014 by Thomas Dunne Books (first published March 21st 2003)
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(showing 1-30 of 1,141)
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S. J. Bolton
“Over two centuries of growth and majesty reduced to stumps and I think it was the first time I ever saw a grown man cry.”

I had an unusual experience the other day. I simple could not face another crime novel. I’d had enough of missing children, screaming mothers, blood-drenched clothing, formaldehyde-scented basements and alcoholic detectives. I wanted something relaxing, light, up-lifting. A book more akin to pink candy-floss and lime jelly babies than blood spatter and scratch marks. Somethi...more
Jan 24, 2008 Alexis rated it 1 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: NOBODY!!
Shelves: umm
I have absolutely NO idea why I finished this book. I guess I was just hoping it would get better but it definitely didn't. The story was crappy, the writing was terrible and I could have told you after about 10 pages exactly what was going to happen. Guess that's what I get for buying off the clearance shelf...especially after just finishing Love In the Time of Cholera.
Praveen Palakkazhi
Well, this one was a bit of a surprise – and a delightful one at that. I probably would never have picked up this sardonically funny little book if I hadn't chanced on it in a footpath stall selling second hand books in Thrissur, decrying it as chick-lit. It was on my reading queue for a while, before I decided I needed a quick and easy read to lighten things up a bit. Now I'm wondering which of Bella Pollen's books I should tackle next.

The story centers around two brothers and their family, who...more
'Hunting Unicorns' is a well-written, entertaining romp with a heart, and I found myself laughing out loud once or twice, yet felt moved at other times. It's partly about a look into a dying species - the English aristocracy (the 'unicorns', or as one aristo himself calls them: 'dinosaurs') - and partly about the intercultural meeting (or clash) between an English man (who himself is a member of aforementioned species) and an American woman (who very much is not) and the ensuing events as their...more
I liked the premise of this novel although having one of the narrators speaking from beyond the grave is an odd device. The continual switching between first-person narration and a third-person-explaining-first-person narration does make the story tricky to follow at times. The descriptions of the paupered lifestyles and eccentricities of the English aristocracy are amusing and much of the book's humour is provided by culture clashes and etiquette failure. This makes for good reading and it's a...more
Romantic comedy with a Wodehouse feel. Hmmm. I think I'll be the judge of that. (a charity shop buy, it was apparently a Richard and Judy summer read in 2004)

Started life as an idea for a film. Goodness only knows, maybe Hugh Grant or Colin Firth were in mind for Rory... however. It was hilariously funny in places, sad in others and insightful elsewhere. Wishy washy cop-out ending.
I wanted this to be better than it was. I liked the subject matter - the opportunity to poke fun at the anachronism that is the English aristocracy - was irresistible. The execution was sadly disappointing. It was ok for a rom com I suppose.
There were certain times that I thought this book might get better, so I read on. Finally, I got so fed up with Maggie that I could take no more. Didn't finish it.
Not bad. Chick fiction.
Elizabeth Plav
Dec 10, 2011 Elizabeth Plav rated it 5 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Britanophiles, romance fans
One of the best books I've read in 2011 -- and 2010, come to think of it.

Well-written, with fleshed-out and flawed characters. I thoroughly enjoyed it (listened to the audiobook, by the way).

Maggie, an American journalist, goes to England to do a story about the decline of British aristocracy in the 21st century. While at first her angle is "lunacy, debauchery", about a people who's time has come (becoming extinct, like unicorns), she slowly comes to realize that nothing is ever black-and-white,...more
Lucy Williams
Hunting Unicorns by Belle Pollen was a love story with more depth. I don’t like girly chick lit books but this combined the usual girl meets boy, they don’t get on at first, then they fall in love, then they fight, then they make up ,with much humor, sadness and a bit of history.

Maggie is an independent, career minded American journalist who is none too pleased at being sent to England to do a piece in the failing English aristocracy.

The book is told through the eyes of Maggie and Daniel. Daniel...more
So far tedious story involing the following:

Daniel - British Alcoholic. Clearly in the novel for comic relief and excessive exposition.

Rory - Daniel's brother. Not too much of a personality yet, all parts regarding him inexplicably narrated by Daniel (as though he is watching the scenes from above).

Maggie - Whiny, catty, arrogant American reporter. She's in England for a story that she feels above doing (the jacket tells me that she will have a romance with Rory, but as it stands, I don't unders...more
The most memorable part of the book for me was not Romance. It was the relationship between the father and the son. It astouned me when I found out how much his father has put up with, like the crumbling house, just for his son. There were also parts of the story that was both beautiful and tragic. Such as seeing his father cry. These parts of the story pulled my heart strings in unexpected moments. No mather how foolish and depressingly naive his parents are, it's hard to dislike these sweet pe...more
Lauren Summers
The premise of this book promised a Jane Austen story for the 21st century with the English peerage and elegant houses clashing with American notions of equality and brash honesty. And that, and that alone, was the only thing the story managed to achieve. The alcoholism is introduced, underlined and the storyline frets with it until it is awkwardly broomed off the stage without explanation. It is abundantly clear that the author, whatever the bio tries to claim, is an Entrenched Brit, defending...more
Peter Thornton
Reading this book is like watching a romantic comedy staring Hugh Grant and a Hollywood A list actress ( Renee Z would be a great Maggie) set in the irrelevant world of the British Aristocracy, a world where nobody wants to be the eldest son, condemned to live out your life in a cold and crumbling castle with only a bottle for comfort. Far better to be a second son with an entrée to the real world of jobs where, with a little luck and central heating, you might just bag a nice girl. I am a sucke...more
Light, fun novel detailing the romance between Maggie, no-nonsense frontline reporter frustrated at being sent to do a fluff piece on the English aristocracy, and Rory, second-son to the Earl of Bevan still struggling with putting aside his career to manage his family's decaying estate. Admittedly, with the two oh-so-incompatible leads, the fairly predictable ending, and the perhaps overwrought, globe-trotting climax, it reads a bit like a romcom (think it started life as a screenplay, actually)...more
Kelly Aley
This is a nice book. Like, cup of hot tea and fire nice, like Sound of Music nice. It is slow paced, but that becomes its charm. I didn't find it up-roaringly funny, but I did laugh. The author isn't British, but does some odd things. When the American is speaking, she uses the British terms for things (boot, not trunk; corridor, not hallway; in hospital, not at the hospital; women's ward, we don't even have that!). Those are just a few which came to mind. This is, at its core, a romance, but it...more
At the beginning of the book I kept asking myself how many mistakes can one group of people make??? It was a little too far fetched, but I kept with it and found myself really enjoying the story and how it was told...didn't want to put it down and finished it on the second night. I would have given it 5 stars but was annoyed with the some of the author's word choices. Maggie spoke like she was from England (though she was supposed to be from New York) and Daniel and Rory seemed to be more Americ...more
Jenny Grieve-laing
A little bit of English eccentricity meets American news reporter, this is a good romp that would make an excellent film. In fact, the author states that it started life as a screenplay. Imagine Sandra Bullock and Hugh Grant (or their younger equivalents). The story is told alternatively by Daniel and Maggie, although Daniel himself makes only a brief appearance. He tells his brother Rory's side of the story. Quite why the author didn't let Rory tell his own story isn't explained but it works qu...more
This was an enjoyable if undemanding tale of an American TV journalist being sent to investigate the English aristocracy today, and how her hardbitten exterior is gradually eroded by meeting examples of the race, especially the Bevans. Of course, she inevitably falls in love with the moody Rory, son of an Earl who has an agency to enable the poor lords to make some money. Its plot may be thin, the cliches abundant and one of the devices used, a narrator who was killed in the first chapter, may b...more
Aspects of this book I quite liked, such as the narration of a deceased person, but others drove me crazy-the female character, that it was fairly predictable, and that I was never truly sold on the main character's relationship. However, the writing was solid and worth the read-even if it didn't live up to my expectations from the author of Summer of the Bear. This was written prior, though, and it appears, looking over reviews if her earlier works, that Pollen's writing skills greatly increase...more
Brigitta Edith
A nice story and very funny in parts, though it was so clearly written to be a film that I feel it lacks any real depth.
This is my second reading and I like it more each time.
Philip Raby
Nov 04, 2008 Philip Raby rated it 2 of 5 stars  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: no one
I found this lying around the house while I was off work with an injury.

Oh dear. The story is weak and the writing is poor. There are inexcusable spelling errors ('peddling' a bike and 'ringing' hands are just two). Part of the story is narrated by a dead Englishman and part by an American woman. Trouble is, the author can't decide whether the latter should be in English or American English. This leads to such howlers as her asking for the 'cheque' in a restaurant.

I guess I made the mistake of...more
This book was engaging, even if slightly predictable. I enjoyed the alternating chapters from Maggie and Daniel's perspectives. Narrating Rory's story via Daniel was a nice device to describe the family dynamics from a less judgemental standpoint. My only real complaint is that the author was not able to write Maggie's chapters using an American "voice." The words and phrases were very British, which didn't help with establishing the communication gap and British vs American misconceptions betwe...more
This was a very predictable story, but I love it for some of the hilarious anecdotes of the British aristocracy. *SPOILER* I loved how you got into Rory's mind through the voice of his deceased brother. I thought Rory and Daniel's parents and Nanny were hysterical ( I laughed out loud with the way Daniel describes his parents). I was a little disappointed that this whole ethical Nazi Sympathizer element was thrown in and discarded a little too neatly and quickly. I know what was going to happen,...more
Jo Russell
Entertaining but humour a bit slapstick.
Londonmabel Mabel
The audio of this book is read alternately by a man and woman. The woman reader was TERRIBLE. She sounded the way you sound when reading a Harlequin out loud to a friend to make fun of it. Like she was trained in the Barbara Cartland school of audio reading. Ad she did accents even though she's bad at them. So painful.

Also, the narrative structure is really weird. Not sure it added to the story.

But I liked the characters enough to pursue to the end.
Anne Mennie
The story looks at the decline of aristocrasy. However the story is primarily a romance. An american journalist and her crew come to England to film the decline. The Bevan family is one of these families she interviews against the wishes of Rory, youngest son in the family.. There were a few comedy momments particularly around the Beven family who are eccentric. The story was all right, I was close to giving up half way through but glad I persisted.
Given the assignment to do a piece on the decline of the English noble class, an American journalist learns more than she expected. The story is told from various perspectives, including that of the eldest son of an aristocratic family who dies early in the story and knows all too well the burdens that fall on the eldest son who is expected to carry on family traditions.

Believable characters and engaging story. A pleasant read.
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Raised in New York , Bella Pollen is a writer and journalist who has contributed to a variety of publications, including American Vogue, The Spectator, The Times & The Sunday Telegraph.

Author of four previous novels, Midnight Cactus, Hunting Unicorns, Daydream Girl and All About Men, Pollen has tackled a broad spectrum of subjects from the decline of the British Aristocracy to the immigration...more
More about Bella Pollen...
The Summer of the Bear Midnight Cactus Daydream Girl All about Men B Movies, Blue Love

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